Known as the home of Pick salami, fisherman’s soup and paprika, Szeged, the “City of sunshine” is located in Csóngrad county and it is the third biggest city in Hungary.
Completely rebuilt after the great flood of 1879 it is nowadays a very picturesque city that lies on the banks of Tisza river which divides the city into the Szeged, the western side, and Új-Szeged, the eastern side.
The University of Szeged is one of the most important and most distinguished universities in Hungary, especially after one of its professors received the Nobel Prize in 1937. It was ranked as the top university of the country on the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2005, and in the top 100 in Europe.
With a population of over 170.000 inhabitants, this city, located 171 km south of Budapest, makes a good weekend trip where you can submerge in a real Hungarian lifestyle.
BASIC THINGS TO KNOW
- Currency: HUF
- Language: Hungarian
- Important phone numbers:
Area code: +36
General Emergency Line: 112
Police Department: 107
Ambulance Service: 104 (+36 311 1666)
- Szeged Taxi: (62) 333-333
- Tele-4 Taxi: (62) 444-444
- Rádió Taxi: (62) 480-480
- Gábriel Taxi: (62) 555-555
Public Transport: https://www.visitszeged.com/en/usefull-stuff/public-transport/
WHAT TO DO
Arad Martyrs Square & The Heroes’ Gate
In the centre of the square stands the statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II, with the slogan of the war of independence (Cum Deo pro patria et libertate), lead by him. We can find the memorial column of the battle of Szőreg nearby, the marble plaque in front of it commemorates the thirteen generals executed in Arad.
The Heroes’ Gate is the memorial place of the soldiers from Szeged who died in World War I. On the arch we can see the war theme frescos painted by Vilmos Aba-Novák.
The memorial column of the revolution of 1956 stands in the square too, reminding us of the fact that the events of October were launched by the movements of the students in Szeged.
The square is surrounded by several buildings of the university, among which the most important is the building of the Faculty of Science and Informatics, former grammar school, where Gyula Juhász, one of the most well-known poets in Szeged, studied.
Dom ter & Votive Church
The square, bordered by elegant, northern European style buildings, was designed by Béla Rerrich and built between 1928 and 1930. On the eastern and southern side there are university institutes, while the western side is lined by the buildings of the bishop palace, the college of theology and the diocesan museum. The National Pantheon, placed under the arcades, includes over a hundred statues representing the prominent characters of Hungarian history, sciences and arts.
The Open Air Festival was first held in front of the Votive Church in 1931. In the past decades after the first, religious themed performance, an abundance of theatrical shows have been amusing the audience in the largest ‘star-roof theatre’ in the country.
After the Great Flood (1879) destroying the city, the people of Szeged made an oath to build a majestic catholic church. Following a long period of planning and several debates it wasn’t until 1913 that the construction started. Being too costly, the original plans of Frigyes Schulek were modified by Ernő Foerk. The construction of the church came to a halt because of World War I, and it wasn’t continued until 1923. The Votive Church was consecrated on 24th October, 1930. The cathedral of Our Lady of Hungary is the fourth largest church in the country. Its architecture is characterised by the mixture of Roman, gothic and eastern Byzantine style elements. Its interior features curiosities like the organ with 9,040 pipes, the image of Madonna dressed in shepherds felt cloak and Szeged slippers, as well as the statue ‘Christ on the Cross’ by János Fadrusz, who won the main prize at Paris World’s Fair in 1900.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8.00-17.00
Prices: Church – Free // Tower – Adults 650 HUF; Students & Pensioners 400 HUF; Discounts for 20-50 member groups.
The square was named after the piarist priest and teacher András Dugonics, the writer of the first Hungarian novel (Etelka, 1788). His statue, which was built from public donations, was the first statue in public places in Szeged. The fountain, inaugurated on the occasion of the centenary of the Great Flood in 1979, is a popular meeting point for the people of Szeged. The principal building around the square is the early eclectic palace of the University of Szeged, originally a secondary school. In front of the university we find the statue of Attila József, who was a student here between 1924 and 1925, but he was forced to cease his studies because of a rebellious poem. At the corner of the square and Kárász Street stands the Unger-Mayer House, designed by Ede Magyar.
The architect Ede Magyar was thirty in 1907, when he constructed Reök Palace, an exemplary piece of Hungarian secession. As he was entrusted by the water engineer Iván Reök, Mihály Munkácsy’s nephew, the leading motif of the building became water. It is represented by the row of blue water lilies decorating the snow white facade, the balcony rails evoking whirling water-plants and the animated variety of different wall-surfaces resembling waves.
The palace, originally built as a residential building, has been housing the Regional Arts Centre since 2007. In the last couple of years visitors have been able to admire works by Picasso, Goya, Chagall and Rembrandt, among others at the temporary exhibitions. Besides, REÖK is also a popular venue for musical programmes, smaller theatre performances and other cultural events.
Gallery opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00
Address: 6720 Szeged, Tisza Lajos krt. 56.
Kauzál Square & Kárász Street
The value preserving the reconstruction of Kárász Street and Klauzál Square was recognised with the Europe Nostra Award in 2004. The downtown palaces display the features of the different competing styles of the time, classicism, eclecticism and secession. Their versatile, distinctive nature still creates a uniquely harmonic, well-balanced picture.
On the square stands the full-figure bronze statue of Lajos Kossuth, as well as Kárász House, which was built on the outer piles of the old castle, and the balcony of which he made his last speech in Hungary from.
On the eastern side of the square we can see New Zsótér House, where the operations of the reconstruction were controlled from, along with the harmonic building of the former Hotel Europe.
The western walls of the castle built on the bank of the River Tisza in the 13th century were situated in the present Széchenyi Square, while the barren field in front of them served as a practice area for the soldiers defending the castle and as the main market square. Following the Turkish occupation, when Szeged regained its former rights and rank of a free royal city, the City Hall, the administrative centre was built here too.
The 19th century reshaped the square both in appearance and function: on the southern side majestic palaces were built, then during the reconstruction following the Great Flood of 1879, the castle walls were pulled down. In place of them, eclectic style residential and public buildings were raised and parks were created.
The spacious square, covering more than 50 000 sq m, is lined by ancient plane trees, magnificent magnolia flowers, empress trees and many other unique plants. Among them nicely made statues make us remember some of the influential figures in the history of the city and the country.
City Hall & The Bridge of Sighs
The present City Hall is the third building in the same place with the same function. The first building of a modest design was raised in 1728. It was followed by the second one with the same area as the present hall, designed by István Vedres at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. After the flood devastating almost the entire city (1879), the square was filled up, so the building became too low and awkward. Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos designed another floor and a slender central spire on the original foundation. The neo-baroque City Hall was inaugurated by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1883, the middle window of the staircase is decorated with his renowned saying: ‘Szeged will be more beautiful than it used to be’. The phoenix in the middle of the pediment symbolizes the revival of Szeged.
The Bridge of Sighs, originally built for the Emperor and his escort visiting the reconstructed city, deserves attention, as well. In the court with a unique atmosphere prose and music performances await the audience each summer.
Can be visited in groups with prior registration.
Address: 6720 Szeged, Széchenyi tér 10.
Anna Fürdő, Thermal Bath
The white-walled eclectic style building in Tisza Lajos Boulevard, reflecting Oriental effects, designed by Antal Steinhardt and Adolf Lang, was built in 1896. Originally it functioned as a city public bath. It took its name from the nearby artesian well drilled in 1927 and its water. The medicinal water was first bottled by Dezső Patzauer. The name of the bath makes us remember his daughter, Anna. The water can be used for digestive problems, applied as a drinking cure, the people of Szeged regularly take it home from Anna Well. The bath awaits visitors with medical treatments, wellness services, as well as offering relaxation on the occasions of night bathings every weekday.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 6.00-20.00, 21.00-24.00
Prices: Adults 1650 HUF; Children, Students & Pensioners 1350 HUF; Blind or Disabled 500 HUF
Address: 6720 Szeged, Tisza Lajos körút 24.
A nicely created park and a curiosity in the history of industry, the country’s first water tower made of reinforced concrete await visitors in Saint Steven Square. The tower, which can hold 1004,8 m3of water, was designed by Szilárd Zielinski. It was built in 1904 and has been performing its original function ever since. The whole tower was made of concrete, including the front door and 54.9 m high pole holding the flag. Inside the tower renovated in 2006 there is a Foucault pendulum demonstrating the rotation of the Earth. Having climbed up its many stairs, tourists can get a magnificent panorama from the top of the tower and see colourful soda water bottles, as well as an exhibition on the history of physics. Around the tower we can find the busts of seven renowned architects who made their mark transforming the cityscape.
Opening hours: 10.00-16.00 (First saturday of the month from April 1st until October 31st)
Prices: Adult 310 HUF; student, pensioner 220 HUF; children under 6 for free.
Tickets for groups after arrangement can be bought at the Tourinform Office (Dugonics tér 2. )
Address: 6720 Szeged, Szent István tér
National Theatre of Szeged
The theatre opened in 1883 is one of the most beautiful eclectic neo-baroque buildings of the town rebuilt from its ruins. Its splendid elegance was given to it by Ferdinand Felner and Hermann Helmer, two theatre architects from Vienna. The semicircular facade is ornamented by the allegoric figures of theatrical art and we can see the statues of József Katona and Ferenc Erkel in the niches on the two sides. The peculiarity of these two artificial stone statues is that they were made by the sculptor Antal Tápai on the spot. The interior presents baroque impetus and ornamentation, as well. The frescoes of the ceiling of the theatre housing 680 people were painted by Zsigmond Vajda.
The theatre has three sections – opera, dance and drama – the larger building giving place to operas and major plays, while the nearby smaller theatre in Horváth Mihály Street is a home for drama and The Contemporary Ballet of Szeged.
Open: Monday-Friday: 10.00-17.00, Saturday: 10.00-12.00
Address: 6720 Szeged, Stefánia 6.
Ferenc Móra Museum
The most impressive product of the building fever of the millennium in Szeged is the Palace for Public Education built in neo-classicist style in 1896. The entrance hall with Corinthian columns covered by a tympanum, the symmetrical structure and the white walls radiate calm dignity. It was intended to give place to the museum of the city and Somogyi Library.
During the directorship of Ferenc Móra (1917-34) the series of exhibitions expanded, storerooms and restoration workrooms were created. Being a writer and a journalist as well, the director took part in ethnographic fieldwork and he made his mark as an archaeologist by doing excavations in the larger surroundings of Szeged. There is also a room in the museum bearing his name with his personal belongings.
The museum offers an ethnographic exhibition of crafts in Szeged, a presentation of the history of pharmacy and a permanent collection of fine arts, all these being animated by temporary exhibitions of great value.
Open from Monday to Sunday: 10.00-18.00
Prices: Adult 1490HUF; Student, pensioner (under 70) 890 HUF; Family ticket (up to 5 people, 2 parents and 3 children) 3990 HUF
Combination ticket (valid for all exhibition places of the Csongrád County Government Museum in Szeged):
Adult 3.590HUF; Student, pensioner (under 70) 1990 HUF; Family ticket 8.990 HUF
Address: 6720 Szeged, Roosevelt tér 1-3.
You can see the remnants of the gate Maria Teresia of the former castle behind the museum. Its foundation corresponds to the ground level of the town before the Great Flood. The height of the aggradation is one meter and a half.
The earthwork fortress of the conquering Hungarians was enforced by Béla IV in the 13th century and it is the place where János Hunyadi left from for the battle of Nándorfehérvár in 1456. It was one of the most important Turkish fortresses in the parts of Hungary under Turkish occupation between 1543-1686. Then it stopped being a fortress and was transformed into a prison. Sándor Rózsa the famous outlaw leader was imprisoned here, too.
The walls of the fortress from the bank of the river Tisza up to Széchenyi Square were almost all demolished after the flood and the remaining parts of the building became exhibiting rooms belonging to Móra Ferenc Museum. You can see the proportionate Carrara marble statue of Queen Elisabeth by the sculptor Miklós Ligeti in the neighbourhood.
Situated in Újszeged in the line of Belvárosi Bridge, the largest park of Szeged has an area of 15 hectares. The wilderness of trees and weed thriving at the place of the present park was transformed by Baron Vilmos Reitzenstein, an imperial officer, colonel of the Italian battalion and his soldiers in 1858. They created a spectacular baroque garden, the axis of which is now lined by giant plane trees, the lawns are shaded by old lindens, oaks and maples.
It accommodates the smaller stage of the Open Air Festival and some university sports fields. On the side close to the bridge stands the Saint Elisabeth church. Nearby there is an area for relaxation with a fountain.
The park is a popular exercise place for athletes, especially marathoners, triathlonists and handball players, but it is also a venue for May Day and gastronomic festivals. At the corner near the sports hall there is a cycling centre.
The Szeged Synagogue is the second largest in Hungary after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest, and the 4th largest in the world.
It is a 1907 building designed by the Jewish Hungarian architect Lipót Baumhorn (1860–1932,), whose work is considered to contain the finest examples of the unique fin de siècle, Hungarian blending of Art Nouveau and Historicist styles sometimes known as Magyar style.
The building’s interior, with its 48.5 meters tall domed ceiling, draws on multiple historical styles to produce its overall Art Nouveau/Moorish Revival style. The rib-like wall above the organ has Gothic origins, while the columns supporting the galleries are Roman. The interior of the great dome, and all of the building’s stained glass, are the work of the artist Miksa Róth.
The design of the Torah Ark alludes to the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Solomon by using sittimwood from the banks of Nile, the wood called for in the building of the Temple of Solomon in 1 Kings. The hinges are in the shape of the Hyssop plant, a plant used in the ancient Temple service.
The synagogue with its excellent acoustics is a special venue for high standard organ and light music concerts.
1 April – 30 September: Mon-Fri: 9 – 12h ; 13 -16h; Sun: 9 – 12h ; 13 – 16h.
1 October – 31 March: Mon-Fri: 09-14h; Sun: 09-14h.
Prices: Adult 500 HUF; Student/Senior 250 HUF
Address: 6722 Szeged, Jósika u.
Pick Salami Museum
The unique museum on the bank of the River Tisza is part of the salami factory founded in 1869, exhibiting two special products of Szeged.
In the room downstairs visitors can learn about the history of the factory owned by the Pick family and the production of Winter salami.
The exhibition upstairs presents the traditions and tools of paprika production, as well as the findings of the studies on paprika. The photos show the bustling life of the paprika market in Szeged at the beginning of the 20th century and the stages of paprika production.
The museum also offers tasting and discount shopping opportunities, and a gift postcard that can be sent from the museum.
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 15.00-18.00
Prices: Adults 980 HUF; Children, Students, Seniors 740 HUF
Address: 6721 Szeged, Felső Tisza-part 10.
Árkád Shopping Centre
ÁRKÁD Szeged Shopping Centre is not only a great shopping venue with a wide variety of stores but also provides an excellent place for leisure and entertainment along with culture.
Thanks to the wide range of events, exhibitions and family programs, ÁRKÁD is a new meeting spot in Szeged. The center has around 130 shops on three levels and approx. 1,300 free parking spaces.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 9.00-20.00, Sun: 10.00-18.00
Address: 6724 Szeged, Londoni krt. 3.
The zoo situated 2.5 km from the centre of Szeged, in a forest area of 44 hectares, has been awaiting visitors since 1989, offering an all day program.
It presents its animals grouped by continents, aiming to provide them with natural conditions. One of the prominent tasks undertaken by the zoo is to keep the rare and endangered species under natural conditions. Accordingly, we can find such curiosities as the South American marmosets and tamarins, snow leopards or giant anteaters.
The collection can be seen on almost every day of the year. The zoo also offers its guests educational sessions, feeds, as well as occasional night tours.
1 Jun – 31 Aug: 09.00-19.00
1 Nov – 31 Mar: 09.00-16.00
1 Apr – 30 Apr, 1 Oct – 31 Oct: 09.00-17.00
1 May – 31 May, 1 Sept – 30 Sept: 09.00-18.00
Prices: Adult 1480 HUF; Student/Pensioner 1070 HUF; Children (under 3 years old) Free, (3-14 years old) 970 HUF
Address: 6725 Szeged, Cserepes sor 47.
Transport: Tram lines 3 and 3F or Bus lines 36 and 36Y
Szeged from the air, Air Balloon
The Hot Air Balloon Sports Cub was founded in 1996. It currently functions all year round and participates in events throughout Hungary. They also offer great advertising opportunities.
The club provides information on the services for interested users of all ages, about the programs offered, competitions and the achievements attained, striving to cultivate both domestic and international relationships.
For more visit: https://www.visitszeged.com/en/
*** Photography ©TRAILS OF BECCA ***